BRIT Awards 2017

This is one of those all-too-common posts where you probably know more about the subject than I do, but I still feel as though we should pay some lip service to the fortieth anniversary BRIT Awards!

This year’s ceremony was the 37th altogether, and celebrated many late geniuses, with statuette designed by Zaha Hadid, a tribute to George Michael, and several wins for David Bowie. It took place at The O2 in London on 22nd February, and was hosted by Dermot O’Leary and Emma Willis, who stepped in for Michael Bublé at the last minute.

Performances at the show came from Little MixBruno MarsEmeli SandéThe 1975Chris MartinKaty Perry and Skip MarleyThe Chainsmokers and Coldplay, Ed Sheeran feat. Stormzy, and Robbie Williams.

British Artist Video

Presented by Simon Cowell and Nicole Scherzinger. The nominees:

  • Adele – Send My Love (To Your New Lover)
  • James Arthur – Say You Won’t Let Go
  • Clean Bandit feat. Sean Paul & Anne-Marie – Rockabye
  • Coldplay – Hymn For The Weekend
  • Calvin Harris feat. Rihanna – This Is What You Came For
  • Jonas Blue feat. Dakota – Fast Car
  • Little Mix feat. Sean Paul – Hair
  • One Direction – History
  • Tinie Tempah feat. Zara Larsson – Girls Like
  • Zayn – Pillowtalk

Winner: One Direction

British Breakthrough Act

Presented by Nick Grimshaw and Rita Ora. The nominees:

  • Anne-Marie
  • Blossoms
  • Rag ‘n’ Bone Man
  • Skepta
  • Stormzy

The winner: Rag ‘n’ Bone Man

Critics’ Choice Award

Presented by Emeli Sandé. The nominees:

  • Anne-Marie
  • Dua Lipa
  • Rag ‘n’ Bone Man

The winner: Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, which surely must be cheating?

MasterCard British Album of the Year

Presented by Noel Gallagher. The nominees:

  • Davie Bowie – Blackstar
  • Kano – Made in the Manor
  • Michael Kiwanuka – Love & Hate
  • The 1975 – i like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it
  • Skepta – Konnichiwa

The winner: David Bowie

British Female Solo Artist

Presented by David Tennant. The nominees:

  • Anohni
  • Ellie Goulding
  • Lianne La Havas
  • Nao
  • Emeli Sandé

The winner: Emeli Sandé

British Male Solo Artist

Presented by Zane Lowe. The nominees:

  • David Bowie
  • Craig David
  • Kano
  • Michael Kiwanuka
  • Skepta

The winner: David Bowie

British Group

Presented by Maisie Williams and Romesh Ranganathan. The nominees:

  • Bastille
  • Biffy Clyro
  • Little Mix
  • The 1975
  • Radiohead

The winner: The 1975

British Single

Presented by Fearne Cotton and Holly Willoughby. The nominees:

  • James Arthur – Say You Won’t Let Go
  • Calum Scott – Dancing On My Own
  • Clean Bandit feat. Sean Paul & Anne-Marie – Rockabye
  • Coldplay – Hymn For The Weekend
  • Calvin Harris feat. Rihanna – This Is What You Came For
  • Jonas Blue feat. Dakota – Fast Car
  • Little Mix – Shout Out To My Ex
  • Tinie Tempah feat. Zara Larsson – Girls Like
  • Alan Walker – Faded
  • Zayn – Pillowtalk

Winner: Little Mix

International Female Solo Artist

Presented by Alice Levine, Clara Amfo, and Laura Jackson. The nominees:

  • Beyoncé
  • Christine and the Queens
  • Rihanna
  • Sia
  • Solange

The winner: Beyoncé

International Male Solo Artist

Also, presented by Alice Levine, Clara Amfo, and Laura Jackson. The nominees:

  • Bon Iver
  • Leonard Cohen
  • Drake
  • Bruno Mars
  • The Weeknd

The winner: Drake

International Group

Since they were still around, this was also presented by Alice Levine, Clara Amfo, and Laura Jackson. The nominees:

  • Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
  • Drake & Future
  • Kings of Leon
  • A Tribe Called Quest
  • Twenty One Pilots

The winner: A Tribe Called Quest

BRITs Global Success

Presented by Naomi Campbell and Jonathan Ross

The winner: Adele

BRITs Icon Award

Because this is getting like the Q Awards with its multitude of identically-named awards. Presented by Take That.

Winner: Robbie Williams. Which I can’t help but feel reflects his success at the BRITs more than it does his performance generally, but well done to him anyway!

BRIT Awards 2017 – Nominations

The nominations for the BRIT Awards occasionally exhibit some interesting characteristics (only occasionally, though). Let’s take a quick skim through this year’s, to see if there’s anything worth talking about.

British Artist Video

  • Adele – Send My Love (To Your New Lover)
  • James Arthur – Say You Won’t Let Go
  • Clean Bandit feat. Sean Paul & Anne-Marie – Rockabye
  • Coldplay – Hymn For The Weekend
  • Calvin Harris feat. Rihanna – This Is What You Came For
  • Jonas Blue feat. Dakota – Fast Car
  • Little Mix feat. Sean Paul – Hair
  • One Direction – History
  • Tinie Tempah feat. Zara Larsson – Girls Like
  • Zayn – Pillowtalk

British Breakthrough Act

  • Anne-Marie
  • Blossoms
  • Rag ‘n’ Bone Man
  • Skepta
  • Stormzy

MasterCard British Album of the Year

  • Davie Bowie – Blackstar
  • Kano – Made in the Manor
  • Michael Kiwanuka – Love & Hate
  • The 1975 – i like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it
  • Skepta – Konnichiwa

British Female Solo Artist

  • Anohni
  • Ellie Goulding
  • Lianne La Havas
  • Nao
  • Emeli Sandé

British Male Solo Artist

  • David Bowie
  • Craig David
  • Kano
  • Michael Kiwanuka
  • Skepta

British Group

  • Bastille
  • Biffy Clyro
  • Little Mix
  • The 1975
  • Radiohead

British Single

  • James Arthur – Say You Won’t Let Go
  • Calum Scott – Dancing On My Own
  • Clean Bandit feat. Sean Paul & Anne-Marie – Rockabye
  • Coldplay – Hymn For The Weekend
  • Calvin Harris feat. Rihanna – This Is What You Came For
  • Jonas Blue feat. Dakota – Fast Car
  • Little Mix – Shout Out To My Ex
  • Tinie Tempah feat. Zara Larsson – Girls Like
  • Alan Walker – Faded
  • Zayn – Pillowtalk

International Female Solo Artist

  • Beyoncé
  • Christine and the Queens
  • Rihanna
  • Sia
  • Solange

International Male Solo Artist

  • Bon Iver
  • Leonard Cohen
  • Drake
  • Bruno Mars
  • The Weeknd

International Group

  • Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
  • Drake & Future
  • Kings of Leon
  • A Tribe Called Quest
  • Twenty One Pilots

It looks as though the main headlines this year are that we all miss David Bowie, Drake is so good that he’s both a male and a group, and somehow Craig David still has a career. The awards will be, err… awarded at The O2 in London on 22nd February, and you can read more and vote for some of the categories here.

Introducing Rance Garrison

A bit of a change of genre for this week’s unsigned act. Rance Garrison has been writing and recording songs for “almost as long as he has been able to talk.” His debut album Black Crow came out last year, and he’s currently working on his second. Here’s a picture of Black Crow:

Cover Photo Edit 2

Rance “hails,” rather dramatically, from the Appalachian foothills of southwest Virginia. As usual, I asked him to pick just three tracks as a little demo to share. First up is It Still Moves:

“The night is silent like a tomb,” he tells us. I think it’s the haunting piano sound that makes this track rather beautiful. Bonus points for the rather flamboyant ending – I think this is probably my favourite of the three.

Next up is The Last Question:

I’d struggle slightly to categorise this one – it seems darker and altogether more apocalyptic than the previous track, and yet there’s also something decidedly chirpy about it.

Finally from this set, we have Seven Trumpets:

This is the most gentle of the trio, driven mainly by a piano and softer sounds. Things all go a bit discordant towards the end, reminding me – perhaps unintentionally – of Scottish bagpipe music! See what you think…

Rance points out, incidentally, that these tracks are best heard in the context of the album Black Crow, which you can find on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, CDBaby, and also on Bandcamp with bonus tracks and a booklet.

What’s your source of inspiration?

These particular songs (and the album as a whole, really) were written in the wake of several deaths that occurred in my family from 2008 to 2009. It was a sort of dark stretch, but death wasn’t ever far from my mind, and by extension, you could say that my personal spiritual beliefs about God and my understanding of faith and the meaning of life were never far from my mind, either, though I prefer not to think of these songs as an endorsement of any particular religion or of myself as an explicitly “religious artist.” In any case, the themes I was dealing with in my songwriting were at that time, and continue to be, pretty heavy stuff, I suppose.

As far as musical inspiration, I’m inspired by a bit of everything. Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Tom Waits have been big influences on my lyrics. Musically, I’ve been influenced by Pink Floyd, Waits, Dylan, Neil Young, The Twilight Singers, Bon Iver, and a host of other bands from the 1960s up to modern times. I’ve recently gotten pretty into Phosphorescent, but discovered that band after these tracks were written and recorded.

A lot of Radiohead‘s work also really resonates with me, especially from the Kid A and Amnesiac era of 1999 to around 2001. Basically, if it’s memorable and unique, and not afraid to go out on a limb and be a little experimental, I’m gonna dig it.

How long does it normally take to record a track?

I work out of a home studio since I live in a rural area that’s not exactly known as a center of musical creativity and since, at this point anyway, I couldn’t afford professional studio time even if that weren’t the case. On average, I would say that I can record a single track over a period of two to three days, sometimes less than that, and sometimes taking as long as a week or even a month to put the finishing touches on. If I recall correctly, It Still Moves was the last song I recorded for Black Crow, and it was done over a weekend. The Last Question was the first song that was finished, I think, and was recorded here and there over the course of about two weeks. Seven Trumpets was recorded over the course of about a week, I think.

It’s hard to say exactly how much time went into each track just because I’m also a full-time college student and have to do a sort of catch-as-catch-can style. All of the songs were recorded in the late night/early morning hours between work, school, spending time with my fiance, and other responsibilities.

If you could go back and change one thing in your life, what would it be?

On a deeply personal level, I would love to go back and stop the car crash that claimed the life of my little cousin, Stephanie, in 2008. I’m an only child, and she was the closest thing I ever had to a sister, rest her soul. Her death, and the deaths of her father and my great-grandmother that occurred later in 2009 that turned my life upside down (I was living in Nashville at the time and moved back home to rural southwest Virginia to care for family) inspired all of this music, but I’d trade that to have her in my life again.

Also I wish I would have taken greater advantage of the music scene in Nashville while I was there, but again, if that stuff hadn’t happened, these songs wouldn’t exist and I wouldn’t be where I am now, about to finish my bachelor’s degree at the ripe old age of twenty-seven and engaged to a wonderful woman who is my best friend. I met her when I came back home, and I wouldn’t change that, either. Life is funny. The things you wish you could change lead you to where you are, and even if you are happy with the way things are, every man and woman has their regrets. Such is the way of life, I suppose.

Visit Rance Garrison‘s Bandcamp page for more information and to hear more.